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Holiday shopping safety tips

snow-7842The holiday shopping season is upon us, and the University Police would like to encourage everyone to practice good crime prevention techniques to help us reduce crime and reduce the potential of you becoming a victim.  We hope the following information will help everyone to enjoy a safer holiday season.

Preparing to shop
Allow extra time to accommodate traffic congestion and crowded stores.  If you are shopping with family and friends, carpooling will reduce the amount of traffic and can be an extra set of eyes and ears for personal safety.

When possible, shop in areas that you are familiar with. Prepare a personal plan while you are away. Have personal safety items such as cell phone, car alarm switch, pepper spray, etc. immediately accessible.  Be prepared for anything. Carry jumper cables, a spare tire, jack, tire tools, ice scrapers, emergency food & water, blankets, etc. in your car.

While shopping
-Be aware of your surroundings at all times, both inside and outside the store.
-Never leave your purse unattended.
-Make sure your vehicle is locked and packages are secured, out of sight, before leaving it.
-Carry your purse strapped across your body, not hanging on your shoulder.
-Don’t overload yourself with items to carry.
-Keep your personal receipts and be mindful of receipts that could potentially be used to obtain credit card numbers, driver’s license numbers or other personal information.
-Keep in contact with friends or family members to let them know of your location and destinations at all times.

Post-shopping & personal safety
-Remain alert at all times and trust your instincts or your sixth sense (if you feel like you are in danger, you may be).
-Have your keys ready and walk with confidence.
-Utilize the available resources at hand.  Don’t be afraid to call the police or a security guard at the store, and have them escort you to the parking lot or some other place that you feel safe.
-Walk around your vehicle and look inside before entering your car.
-Load your items into the vehicle as quickly as possible and lock yourself inside.
-Carry a charged cell phone with you at all times and don’t be afraid to call 911.
-Report any suspicious circumstances you observed to the police or security personnel.  If you see anything that looks suspicious, please take the time to tell security so they can investigate and possibly prevent someone else from being victimized.